LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — President Biden announced that he will pardon everyone who has been convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law.

The October 6 announcement represents the most significant action on marijuana the Biden administration has taken to date, and a major step towards decriminalization. Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a statement in response to the move:

The President, in his announced policy on marijuana, has waved the flag of surrender in the fight to save lives from drug abuse and has adopted all the talking points of the drug legalizers. The Department of Justice should not issue blanket pardons but each case should be looked at individually. As Governor I have issued hundreds of pardons to those who have been convicted of drug offenses. But in this time of rising crime, there should be a clear record of law-abiding conduct before pardons are issued. 

In terms of rescheduling marijuana, the president is ignoring the science that is behind the different categories of drugs. While his proposal sounds good, this is a step that has not been taken by the Obama Administration or the Trump Administration. Biden is simply playing election-year politics and sacrificing our national interest to win votes.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, October 6

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, even as states have moved toward legal use for recreational and medical purposes. An amendment that would make recreational marijuana legal for adults in Arkansas is on the November general election ballot.